One thing I love about owning a Mercedes-Benz is the fact that those two companies – which merged in 1926 – are the two oldest manufacturers of motor vehicles in the world. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler (who used the Mercedes name belonging to the daughter of one of his backers, Emil Jellinek) simultaneously developed their first cars – the first cars in the world. Benz got there first, just, in 1885 – the same year that Daimler built a motorbike. Daimler built a petrol-powered stagecoach the following year.
It’s a staggering history, unmatched by any other car manufacturer. Once the two companies merged, the Daimler-Benz organisation (now selling cars as Mercedes-Benz) fast gained a reputation for top drawer engineering.
Despite this reputation, I was still approaching today’s MOT test with some trepidation. After all, I’ve owned this car for a mere fortnight and have not seen the underside of it at all really, other than a quick inspection of the sills and front suspension mounting area when I bought it. 128 years of history was going to be little comfort if the underside had the structural integrity of a doily.
I needn’t have worried. The car didn’t disappoint and while on the inspector’s ramp, I could see that bar a couple of spots of light corrosion, there’s plenty of life in the old girl just yet. There were advisories for the surface rust, rusty fuel lines (still bone dry thankfully), a faulty fog light switch (it does work, sort of) and a wheel bearing with a hint of play in it. Phew. The gamble that was buying this car appears to have paid off. Jobs to do – but none of them too horrendous I hope, and I’ve now got plenty of time to get on with them. Or would have if work wasn’t quite so busy. Not that I’m complaining…
I’m not sure the Merc is going to be a keeper though. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it and have no plans to sell it just yet, but it doesn’t have the feel of a car that is going to win me over. One day, the lure of that smooth six-cylinder engine will be offset by the 24mpg it appears to be returning (which isn’t too bad to be honest). Fuel economy is not why I bought this car though. I wanted something effortless to waft around in. It does that very well. There’s just one problem. It’s not as comfortable as a Citroën BX!
I thought it might just be me but no, my wife agrees. The seats are ok, but the ride jiggles in a way that hydraulic Citroëns so marvellously don’t. It’s a reminder that the BX manages that comfy, big car feel in a package that isn’t unreasonably large. If only you could get a V6 BX. That would be an amazing machine.
In the meantime, the noise is something to enjoy – and now you can too with this snippet of video.